Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Power of Hope: How to leave behind broken Dreams & Embrace your Destiny

I remember when I was in St. Louis Missouri doing ministry with The Salvation Army, a guy named Braxton and I would go around to places to talk to people about Jesus and hand out tracts. One day we went to an overflowing homeless shelter. The place was full up, with people sitting in the grass around it. It was quite a scene. So we walked around inside talking to people about Jesus, and handing out tracts, and eventually we went outside. And I was waiting by the car for Braxton who was talking to a friend. And I just looked at all the people. They all looked blank in the face. Do you understand what I mean? Empty. You’ve come to the end of yourself, your family, your resources, your very life, when you are set up outside a homeless shelter, on the streets of St. Louis, with nothing. You have nothing left. Life has taken it all from you. That blank stare, is a point which people sometimes reach in life. It is a state of utter hopelessness.

Have you ever reached that point in your life? Did an addiction do this to you? Grind you down until you had nothing left. Or did family members and friends desert you during a hard time, and so you became hard inside? Did you work, and work, and work, endlessly, sour, broken, and seeing no hope for so long, you just gave up inside? Maybe you’re in pain everyday and you’ve given up on a finding freedom from that pain? It can happen in many ways. Our dreams die, and one day we think, where did they go? They are gone. We feel like we failed, and all has been lost.

Have you been in this place? I saw one man. Sitting among some ruins. The Lord told me to go to him. I stopped right in front of him. What do I say to him? What can I possibly say? I locked eyes with him. And the Lord spoke through me, saying, “There is still hope. It’s not over. Look at me, there is hope. There is really hope.” He teared up a bit and smiled and said, “yeah.” Do you have hope? Or have you given it up?

The word from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV, says, "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Maybe your dreams are dead and gone. So be it. Maybe you’ve lost hope in living a better life. Alright. We can’t change where you’ve been. But I will tell you this: Today, God can turn the page. And rewrite the script. And set you on a new course.

As CS Lewis said, “There are greater things ahead than any we leave behind.”

I want to challenge you today: Believe that there is hope for you today. Hope for you personally.

The psalm writer wrote to himself say, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” -Psalm 42:11

Sometimes we think God is too far away. We think He wont help us. We think he’s too busy. And we just can’t figure out how to connect to God. But somehow there's this disconnect between God and ourselves. And the only way you can heal that divide is by receiving Jesus Christ as your savior, and committing your life to God, without any reservations. 100% in. I give my life fully to serve Jesus. That is the only way out. We can’t try to get the help from God, but then not really serve God. It just won’t work that way. Give yourself completely to Him. I’ll wait. Do it right now.

If you don’t have Jesus Christ as your savior, you should feel hopeless, because the truth is that you are. You’re doomed. You’re still in your sins, and your under God’s wrath. You should feel miserably depressed if you don’t have Jesus. Maybe that’s one some of you do.

But if you cry out to Jesus, and give your life completely to Jesus, all of it, and commit to serve Him. He will heal you. I know, because he did this for me. But the deal is strict, we can’t hold anything back. We gotta be all in.

So if you’ve committed it all to Jesus, then the promise from Proverbs 23:18 is yours, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

And again it says in Zephaniah 3:17 ESV “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

This is what you might call a hidden hope, that we Christians have. People don’t quite understand it. They see is walking around town, everybody has a big frown on their faces, their eyes look vacant and empty, and then you see a Christian, and their eyes seem to light up. They aren’t heavy with sorrow. They are light and firmly seated in Christ. Most people say, what a weirdo. Why do they have hope? Especially during COVID-19, people were crazy, full panic attack mode, trying to escape infection. Manic you might say. Just an unending unquenchable fear. And then Christians were there, smiling, knowing, God will protect me, but even if he doesn’t and I die, I’ll go to heaven to be with Jesus. So no matter what, I’m safe. The hope can’t be touched by anything. It’s completely unshakable.

Take the deal. It’s a tough bargain I get it. Give it all to Jesus. Commit your life to serving Jesus. But the pay out is incredible riches, eternal hope, and an afterlife in paradise, instead of the lake of fire. If you don’t have that beloved savior of mine, you are on your way to the lake of fire. Just a fair warning. It’s 100% real. You’ll be conscious. It’s totally real. But the good news is, is that so is paradise. It’s 100% real, solid, physical, and true.

So in conclusion today, have hope. Hebrews 6:18b-19 says this: "We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain" -Hebrews 6:18-19

The hope you have in Jesus, is sworn to by God as being 100% true and real. He swore it to Abraham long ago, and swears to you today that this hope is 100% true, to bring you into the very presence of God, behind the curtain to that holy of holies where the full presence of God is. And that place in our future is called the new Jerusalem, the city we will live in, for those who know and are known by Jesus. That is the solid hope. An anchor for our souls. Don’t let the troubles of this life weigh you down, because the weight of glory, of this solid future we have goes so far beyond the light burdens of this life, and all the silliness of this world. Your hope is eternal, and beautiful beyond imagining. Hope always!